Why The Shelby GT350, GT500 Don’t Have The New Mustang Face

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While we were at the launch event of the 2019 Shelby GT350, we couldn’t help but notice how both the GT350, and the upcoming Shelby GT500 still have the front of the pre-facelift Mustang. Why aren’t Ford’s range-topping ponies wearing the new Mustang face, which was introduced for the 2018 model year? Here was Ford’s official answer:

“The Shelby GT350 is the purist’s performance model. The team focused their time addressing what customers wanted most, including improved grip and suspension upgrades.”

2018 Ford Mustang introduced a facelift for the Mustang EcoBoost and Mustang GT (Mustang GT California Special Edition pictured)

Now, this is half true. Yes, the changes made to the 2019 GT350 do, in fact, help at making it a quicker machine at the track, and we are thankful for them, but changing a car’s front end has implications far greater than putting together the “purist’s performance model.”

Here’s what’s really going on: the Mustang Shelby models are fitted with what Ford calls a Carbon Composite front subframe. It serves to both reduce weight and stiffen the car’s chassis under heavy load. And in that regard, changing the design of the front end would require Ford to entirely re-engineer this bit of technology for the new shape. Considering the development costs of carbon fiber components, it would be hard to justify a facelift for the low-volume Shelby models, especially when – one would argue – it doesn’t need one. After all, we haven’t heard anyone complain about the looks of the Shelby GT350 and GT500.

2019 Ford Mustang Shelby GT350 wears the pre-facelift S550 Mustang front end

Furthermore, changing a car’s bumper, headlights and hood has implications on the car’s cooling and aerodynamics. The Mustang Shelby cars, especially the GT500 with its massive supercharger, have different cooling requirements compared to the Mustang EcoBoost or the Mustang GT. Re-engineering the aero in CAD, then bringing the car back to the wind tunnel, and continuing to do so several times until the perfect aero and cooling characteristics have been achieved, implies spending large sums of money in development for something that, again, doesn’t really need it.

2020 Ford Mustang Shelby GT500 wears a unique lower fascia, but the upper fascia does not feature the facelifted look

So, until we see an all-new, next-generation Mustang appear, which won’t be for a while still, expect both the Shelby GT350 and GT500 high-performance ponies to retain their current fascias. That should be good great news for people who aren’t quite warming up to the new Mustang face.

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Written by William Clavey

Automotive journalist from Canada, owner of claveyscorner.com

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  1. Does anybody out there have any real good and decent info on the new “2020 SHELBY GT 500”???? Iam talking about OPTIONS, PRICING, DELIVERY SCHEDULE, Which dealers will get “More than 1 Car”???? I have called atleast 15 Ford Dealers now and they “KNOW NOTHING”. The only thing they tell me is they are getting 1 car and its already “Presold”. I find it quite interesting that “FORD LAYS OFF 7,000 PEOPLE”. But they won’t let you order a “High End Expensive Ford”. Think about that for a minute folks. I bet if you called those “7,000 NICE FOLKS” they would say sell him a car as he’s got the money!!!!!!!!!!!!

  2. how can a carbon sub frame underneath have any thing to do with an bolt on item like headlights, GEE, the headlights don’t weigh that much that Ford has to worry about the sub frame. The production of six billion 2015 mustang headlights by mistake sounds more reasonable to me, CRAP you need a strong subframe for 2018 headlights to be installed.

  3. That is SOOO untrue, you don’t need a carbon subframe for a bolt on item like new headlights, the 2018 headlights don’t weigh that much, I still believe someone at Ford has made a mistake and produced six billion 2015 mustang headlights by mistake and now Ford has to find a way of using them all on future models.

  4. The nose makes one beautiful car…………..don’t change a winner!!
    Now…………if I just had a five pound box of money………….

  5. Ford admits above in their statement that the Mustang gt350 and Gt500 is not strong enough to hold the 2018 headlight and plastic front bumper, just how FRAGILE is the new Mustang. Now Ford admits they are going to use the old ” 2015 headlights and taillights ” right through to the new model in 2027. Somebody has produced six billion of these headlights by mistake. When the new 2027 Mustang arrives, no use looking for spy photos, I can tell you now it will be a T-Model ford with a stripe on the hood, keeping with tradition with Ford using old parts.

  6. Ford admits above that the Mustang sub frame on the GT350 and GT500 is not strong enough to hold the 2018 headlights and plastic front bumper. Just how FRAGILE is the new mustang. Someone at Ford has produced six million “2015 headlights and taillights” because Ford now admits it is going to use them right through till the next model in 2027.
    Don’t look for spy photos of the 2027 mustang, I can tell you now what it s going to look like, keeping with Ford tradition of using old parts, it will be a T-Model Ford with a stripe on the hood.

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